As the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report indicates, there is a lot that we have to do to reduce our impact on the planet if we want it to continue to be a suitable place for humans to live, however, even if we do enough to prevent the worst from happening, we will still have to adapt to climate change if we want to survive.
For instance, the staff and volunteers for the National Trust in the south of England will be following more Mediterranean schedules due to the steady rise in temperature. This means that they will start the day earlier, have a long lunch break when the sun is at its hottest, and finish later, just as people do in other countries like Italy and Spain.
“It’s fair to say that as we experience more extreme temperatures, we will be looking to offer Mediterranean working hours, especially in the east which is likely to experience more frequent higher temperatures to ensure the health and safety of our staff and volunteers,” explains a spokesperson for the National Trust.
The Mediterranean style schedule has already been implemented at Ham House in Richmond, south London, which, back in August 2019, had to close for the first time due to temperatures surpassing 40 degrees Celsius. The staff at Ham House will be offered the new working hours when it’s hot, with the new scheme expected to roll out to more trust properties as needed over the years.
Another way that the charity plans to mitigate the effect of heatwaves is by moving benches into shady areas of the property to protect staff and visitors from the heat, as well as planting more trees for added shade. The staff is also making sure to plant Mediterranean plants, which are more resilient in drier and hotter conditions.
The National Trust is also planning for more climate-change-induced shifts. For instance, according to an analysis of visitor data from the past five years, the number of tourists they receive increases as temperatures hit 24 degrees Celsius but drop dramatically once they get over 28 degrees Celsius, especially for indoor activities such as guided tours around stately homes.
According to Lizzy Carlyle, the charity’s head of climate and environment, “what this data shows… is that we have a lot to do to prepare the UK tourist industry for the effects of climate change. In time, there could also be a need for a slight cultural shift in our approach as tourists, like avoiding hotter parts of the day like those currently experienced in southern European countries.”
Other changes in climate that they will be preparing for include stronger winds and more frequent floods.